People believe the craziest things — despite being proven wrong.
Hi. I’m Jerry Silver.
I’m a professional PR advisor based in Stockholm, Sweden.
I write advice on PR, online psychology, persuasion techniques, and
media logic. Insights and tactics that you can use to communicate better.
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You can also read my latest articles below (or browse the archive).
15 years in PR has taught me a thing or two about spin.
Unfortunately, people tend to believe in whatever version of a story that benefits themselves the most — or the version that’s coherent with their existing view of the world1 (they are often one and the same). Evidence and facts tend to have little effect on those who have made up their minds. It’s often enough to sway people by casting enough doubt on the truth. Especially if the truth is somehow inconvenient.
It’s often enough to sway people by casting enough doubt on the truth — especially if the truth is somehow inconvenient.
Successful online activation campaigns must isolate and engage. The Engagement Pyramid explains how and why.
We all care, but only so much.
If you’re looking to harness crowd engagement, you must cater to various levels of engagement.
Let’s say you arrange a competition on Instagram:
“Upload your best summer picture and tag it #mysummer to enter our competition.”
Now, how many of those who sees the contest actually have a relevant picture on standby for upload? How many of those users are even interested in competing for prizes on Instagram? And out of those, how many will, at that given moment, have the time to actually upload that picture?
If you can get 1% to enter as creators, you should be happy. But, to be successful, you should also attract contributors — even if you can’t expect them to invest as much engagement as your creators.
Your “ask” of your contributors must be considerably smaller than that of the creators; if creators upload their best summer pictures, maybe contributors can suggest creative captions for their favorite entries? Now, if both creators and contributors are having fun, why not invite lurkers to simply cast their votes with only the click of a button?
This is an example of why the Engagement Pyramid matters.
Do you aspire to become a Viral Loop Designer? Here's everything you need to know. Roll up your sleeves — it's viral math time!
Let’s do some math!
Let’s say you post a cat video on YouTube. And it’s (obviously) really, really funny.
You share it across your social networks and you get your first 1,000 views.
Out of these viewers, 10% (100 people) decides to share your cat video with their friends, once. Each share generates 11 new views of the video, a total of 1,100 views. Going from 1,000 views (1st cycle) to 1,100 new views (2nd cycle) equals a viral coefficient of 1,1.
And anything above 1,0 = viral, wohoo!
How many views will you get in the 3rd cycle? Out of the 1,100 people in the 2nd cycle, 10% will share it once generating on average 11 new views per share and — boom! — you get 1,210 (1,100 x viral coefficient) additional views after the 3rd cycle!
Well, look at your cat video now, mighty Viral Loop Designer!
But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s examine the inner workings of viral math:
Some say you should go big and wide, others say go focused and deep. Which marketing strategy is right for your business?
Should you opt for quantity or quality in your marketing efforts?
Or a mix of both?
These are questions many businesses struggle with today.
On the one hand, we hear of businesses that are extremely successful in leveraging creative mass media campaigns, multi-channel advertising, and aggressive sales efforts.
On the other hand, we also hear of businesses that are equally successful without spending any money on advertising, brands who rely on their fanbase, influencer endorsements, word-of-mouth, and publicity.
In my experience, both sides make compelling arguments.
But which side is right for your business?
Is social media the future of communication — or is it a breeding ground for hate groups, fake news, and click-baits?
So, there’s a downside.
As it becomes easier for everyone to self-publish without censorship, we see the rise of anonymous hate, fraudulent behavior, rampant populism, and propaganda.
Oh, and have you heard? Social media is killing journalism, too.
Now, if the keyboard is mightier than the sword, can we trust Average Joe and Jane to wield such powers? As the recent debate on how social media is responsible for spreading fake news stirs up emotions, many are raising their voices for stricter regulation and increased control. Otherwise, we might just socialize ourselves to death.
Social media is, after all, more than just cute lolcats, silly emojis, and clever memes.
What would it take to rid social media of hatred and disinformation? And what would it cost us?